Israel. Palestine.

Two peoples. Two cultures. Two histories with a variety of values, opinions, religious, political, and social beliefs.

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Evidently, the ongoing conflict between the two sides is inherently complex and multifaceted. In reality, one could argue that opposition between the two goes back hundreds, if not thousands, of years even before the creation of the state of Israel. Divergent claims over who first inhabited the land and who therefore possesses rightful claims to settle on it are confusing, complicated, and all the more difficult to reconcile.

Unfortunately, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not one that can be mended overnight. Regardless of any possible ceasefires or peace treaties – which are understandably questionable – the psychological and emotional traumas that both sides have endured for centuries cannot easily be healed. The wounds of warfare will forever remain open and in the hearts and minds of those who have suffered in the name of their homeland.

Talk of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict around the world stirs intense emotion and has even resulted in physical clashes in many cases. The fierce exchange of words has hit university campuses at an intense rate with no sign of slowing down. Even more troubling is that many students fear their campus is no longer a safe environment in which to attend classes and mingle with friends.

If it can be agreed upon that the battle between the two sides is not simple but instead exceptionally intricate and often difficult to discuss, then it is ironic that so many individuals around the world claim to understand it. Many even maintain to be authorities on the subject matter in their efforts to strengthen support on their own side and spew hateful slurs against the other. Protests and rallies often lead to violence, police interventions, and extensible damage to property.

The world is becoming a more frightful and dangerous place and these antics will only add fuel to the fire. Both sides, and their supporters, will never completely and wholeheartedly agree with one another. Further, harshly imposing beliefs on others will only lead them to become defensive and resentful. There must be another way.

As an outside observer, no longer living in Israel, I recognize the inherent difficulties in engaging in dialogue about the issue at hand without living in the daily reality that many face on the ground. Individuals who do not reside in the region have a limited impact over what goes on. They cannot play an active role in the domestic politics of these nations and therefore cannot influence such governments to seek positive change. They can, however, make a difference in the diaspora. Regardless of which side we support the message should not be one of division, but of inclusion and peace.

The power of one individual to promote the message of inclusion and peace has strength, although can be limiting overall. Instead, the power of a collective group is widespread and their voices can be heard more extensively. Standing together as human beings, we can rally in support of both peoples and nations to live in harmony side by side. Israel alongside a future Palestinian state can bring change to the region. A Jewish nation deserves the right to exist as much as a Palestinian one, free of religious fanatics and with acceptable borders of course. If we focus on peace as the message, perhaps it can become a reality.

Idealistic as this may be, the alternative is not suitable. Continuing to spread one’s convictions through whatever means possible, often resulting in harm and violence, cannot be beneficial in the long run. It only causes further animosity and hatred between the two sides and ultimately those around them. Without any other practical options for the time being, one is left to hope for a more peaceful and better world for future generations to live in. Evidently, this is easier said than done. In the end, however, what other choice do we have?
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position or viewpoint of The Jerusalem Post. Blog authors are NOT employees, freelance or salaried, of The Jerusalem Post.

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